It was funny the other day I ran into a parent from my sons class who was complaining about the skill drills and how she didn’t even have immediate recognition of the math facts with sums to 18. She said something like, “Why do they need to learn their facts when we use computers for everything now?” I really did not say much and just asked her if she wanted me to send her some links to free resources for fact mastery. When she said, “No, thanks,” I felt bad for her child.
So I am on the other side of this now! Instead of the teacher giving the timed computation drills, I am the parent helping the child get ready for the timed drills.
So why do I think children should master facts (speaking from a teacher prospective)?
Learning the math facts is important because they are the basic building blocks (pre-skills) needed for higher level math concepts. Knowing the basic facts will make it significantly easier for your child to grasp higher level math concepts. Examples of higher level math concepts include; adding and subtracting two digit numbers, telling time, counting money, multiplication, and division. Likewise, if they do not know their facts then all higher math concepts will be more difficult and frustration will set-in. Rather than reinvent the wheel, click here for more great tips and ideas for fact mastery.
There are many resources available online to help parents and teachers reinforce fact mastery (remember if you child is counting on their fingers or drawing dashes to represent the problem, they do not have fact mastery.) Fact mastery is considered memorization of the facts.
When I taught special education students, one thing my students all struggled with was learning their basic facts. I have found over time that the best way to teach the facts is to break them down into sets. Start with 10 facts. Once a child has learned those 10, add 2 more. Once they know those 12, add 2 more. Repeat until they know all their facts. Keep flash cards in your car. Have your child tell you five facts before getting out of the car. Make sure they say the problem with the answer. “two plus three equals five”
Besides regular daily practice with flash cards, get creative and use free printables from online and be sure to check out the online games for fact mastery. Below are some of my favorite online resources.
Take Timed Tests Online
Printable Addition Timed Tests
Fun For Practice
Many online games on a first grade level from Harcourt
Count Us In – Games to help younger students understand basic math concepts. From Australia.
BlackDog’s Addition Quiz – slide the answer to match the problem
Rock Hoppers – an addition game
Test The Toad – addition to 15
Simple Addition Game basic skill practice made fun
Hidden Picture – addition – check your addition factsGoogle+